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Gone Girl (2014)
Terrific until the 140th minute
Well, how's this for a terrific soap opera..... all too clever by half, and with so many new century thriller films, paints itself into a corner that cannot be redeemed in the running time. Here is a great modern destructive thriller with an ending that completely undoes the whole film. Drone character husband meets cryptic woman manipulator who scores a 10/10 for bitch mayhem. Wealth allows plot points and absurd new characters to be hired to glance sideways. In-joke about deception sees gay actor hired as hetero obsessed stalker lover. Ice blonde proves to be better temptress than all the men mired in ghastly double dealings. Oakie rednecks prove to be the smartest characters in WASP thriller. Stay gasping until the 139th minute. Admire the Frank Lloyd Wright architecture. Toss food at the screen. Shake head as credits roll.
Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)
Clever slick and all Steed-shiny...but this film, poached from KILL BILL, THE SAINT, INCEPTION, THE AVENGERS, any 60s BOND etc...with added CLOCKWORK ORANGE violence simply shows that Matthew Vaughn is just another vile Tarantino wannabee handed a big budget and excessively indulgently produced a stupid film with set pieces of boring ugly violence. Some scenes, as in the church, are just disgusting, and from that point the interest level wanes. The scenes in the mountain lair are INCEPTION meets ON HER MAJESTYS SECRET SERVICE with absurd and endless killing which ultimately made me feel ill. 30 minutes too long and from a clown copycat director, this film is great initially, for 60 minutes and then irritating and vile for 70 minutes. Yes the damn thing runs 130 minutes. I really did feel sick and exhausted when it finished. I thought it all a shocking waste of production money time and the studio's trust. To show contempt for the audience with such cretinous perverse 'action' and result, the villain even spews on the audience. Then there is the 'hilarious' anal sex joke. The last 70 minutes of this chrome dildo of a movie are truly horrible.
A vulgar catastrophe
Yeesh...why is this film in existence. ANIMAL HOUSE in 1978 was funnier and without the swearing and the titty/dick jokes. Why is Seth Rogan allowed to just smear this nappy on the screen? This is a god-awful film and not anywhere as interesting as Belushi's NEIGHBOURS from 1981. It's the crudity and the sexist jokes that sting here... it's just tedious. The Robert De Niro party idea is wasted, and editing in the last 30 minutes makes no sense... where are the other neighbors which logically would make up a subplot, and half the movie is spent with the audience asking "where is the baby"... Dave Franco must have busted the casting couch in Hollywood to get this part, and the talent of the terrific Zac Efron is again wasted. This is crude ugly film. Stupid and unfunny. I tossed the blu-ray in the bin. Zac Efron needs to make the movie about Tyrone Power in the 40s and exit this trash asap.
Tedious crude vanity project: BUNGLED SADDLES is more apt.
Hopefully the end is nigh for the idiotic unfunny XXX level crudity from Seth MacFarlane. This beautifully designed and produced western sinks under the imbecile immature sex jokes and at A HUNDRED AND THIRTY FIVE MINUTES.........that is the biggest joke of all, that this 80 minute idea takes two and a quarter hours to lick the screen. Obviously our frat-boy Seth was so enamored with his skills on and off the screen that the edit suite was clogged with his face too. This is a lame film and not worth your money or time. The sheer endless crudity was just pointless and tedious. The opening night party must have drawn some stifled yawns from the guest list, and I am sure even Universal were polite, and then hoped to hell he never got to do this trash again. Mel Brooks 4o years ago did it better and so did the Marx Bros in 1941. Half of the movie is repeated conversations of him and Theron just chatting, as if that is enough.
The Thing (2011)
Teeth From Outer Space.
This pointless remake is so terrible and laughable as to be annoying. Silly big Jabberwocky gnashers and spaghetti veins and cardboard sets and yelling about in the dark. Honestly, why remake so badly. The ending is outrageous, silly cutting into the credits with leftover scenes if maybe a sequel. Well NO thanks. I really enjoyed the 1982 remake with Kurt Russell and it all should have been left at that. This new remake is an insult. I suppose Joel Edgerton accepted a role here and collected a few hundred $$$ dollars which should have been given to charity. The music sounded like Television sci-fi.. as if lifted or borrowed from LOST IN SPACE 1965. How did these messy silly aliens build this craft, why, where did it come from... what a waste. Cockroaches can't fly a spacecraft, even if they have three heads dangling from their groin. Silly. Awful.
A Night in Casablanca (1946)
Along with ROOM SERVICE, this title, A NIGHT IN CASABLANCA is lame. Groucho comes out of it best, but Harpo and Chico are really showing their age and actually look creepy still slapping about with vaudeville antics. Production values are excellent and the style and look of the film is quite wonderful. But as a comedy, it isn't one, and the sight of the Marx Bros in a punch up is horribly unfunny. Several short scenes are good routines (the trunk and wardrobe being unpacked etc) and occasionally Groucho's one liners are mildly amusing, but the drawn out climax on the plane is hopeless and the overall pantomime is really dated. I love the 1929-35 Marx Bros films. This comes from 1946 and whilst well made, lacks the script and tighter editing. One gag at the very beginning is hilarious where Harpo is asked if he is holding up a building. That's it.
why can't all American films be as good as MUD...
Languid running time, jus' like the Mississippi and with a good ol' boy Clyde Parker type criminal befriending Huck and Tom characters, MUD is a slow burning deliverance in a 'coming of age' wrapper. Except for the pointless very last scene, MUD is an exceptionally well made simple film. It is deceptive and with about 7 subplots, and with an astonishing performance by 16 year old Tye Sheridan almost out-acting Matthew Mac, MUD rolls along, gathering emotions and drama and suspense right up to the final 'I love you' and family bond. An excellent hard PG film for teens and parents, made simply and on location. BREAKING AWAY and other similar films precede but this one adds shotgun bayou/Romeo-Juliet/DELIVERANCE/STAND BY ME imagery and intelligence. ... but that very last scene... not needed.
The Witches (1966)
Minor Hammer Horror from the mid 60s has several very effective components: a terrific location of banal evil in a very picturesque village, excellent acting by everyone, even the kids and families who genuinely live there, astonishing and beautiful art direction sets and interiors, and some major acting from Hollywood Oscar winner Joan Fontaine. I am sure this was not the experience depicted in THE MIRROR CRACK'D but far more like that of making THE WICKER MAN eight years later. I felt a lot of THE WITCHES led to THE WICKER MAN and together would have made a fabulous double feature. I enjoyed this "women's matinée horror" entry in Hammer's lexicon, the sort of horror film your Mum would come home one day and tell you she saw it at the Odeon on a shoppers' session while you were at school. Unfortunately, the 'ghastly ritual climax' is very poorly depicted and looks more like the local amateur dance and theatrical society were hired to be 'devil worshipers'. It really is badly directed and cast. Joan delivers o all counts and the after effect is one of nodding approval. Benign devil coven antics, if that's possible. However I loved the color photography, the eerie daylight village feel and the beautiful interiors of every home. Yes it's the Women's Home Beautiful Hammer Horror. Girl star Karen Dotrice from MARY POPPINS and THOMASINA makes a juicy teen sacrifice. I think Matthew Garber from the same films also appears as her love interest early on.
The Hitch-Hiker (1953)
This terrific Ida Lupino noir thriller from 1953 has more than it's share of admirers and all for good reason. However, I felt there was a sub plot or subtext also slightly on view. The killer first kills a couple, then a single man, but when he picks up two pals going on a 'fishing trip' and realizes they are NOT going where they told their wives... he might just be in the sort of male company he was looking for... hence the reason why he sticks with them instead of just killing them as he did with the other false start pick-ups at the beginning of the film. This hitch hiker wants to be with a male couple. While it is not spelled out, it certainly is there in body language and in some emotional hints. The ring we see left at the gas pump is not a wedding ring, it is a fraternity ring. The Mexican police officer says this in Spanish. After WW2 and after The Korean War many many displaced and sexually confused men who had experiences intimate and grueling male bonding were tipped back into society. The rise of bike gangs is testament to these men who wanted male companionship in leather and uniform platoons began to get noticed in society. This film is a microcosm of that emerging subculture. The couple murdered at the start: not the pick up he wanted; the man killed: not the man he wanted. The two men going on a 'picnic' ... and the wives have been told a lie, THAT's the men he wants to be with, hence the rest of the film.
Any Day Now (2012)
I was skeptical as I sat there but when informed that this is a true story, I engaged better and ultimately admired this small simple emotional film. An unlikely first act overcome, the story of a gay couple who adopt an abandoned teenager with Down Syndrome and the legal battle that follows when conservative law is aghast, makes for a strong story. Talented Alan Cumming is a bit hard to deal with at times and often resembles a younger Dustin Hoffman. The teen is wonderful and Garret Dillahunt right for the hesitant lawyer/partner. A particularly emotional ending is straight to the heart. I do recommend this honest interesting film and if admire the concise low budget production values.